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Scottish hospitality industry unites to demand fair rates for all

Glasgow’s hospitality industry has been unfairly discriminated against by rates assessors.

That’s the view of industry bodies, Scottish licensees and restaurateurs who all came together at a meeting in Glasgow recently and we now need you to throw your support behind the initiative.

You can do so by emailing Lisa Watt on Fairrates4all@gmail.com

So far the collective has agreed to launch a crowdfunding campaign in order to bring pressure to bear upon the rates assessor to devise a fairer rates system before Scottish hospitality businesses start folding in a climate where no appeals are being upheld.

Speaking at the event were DRAM publisher Susan Young, UKHospitality’s Willie MacLeod, Marc Crothall of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Ryan James of the Glasgow Restaurant Association, Two Fat Ladies and The Buttery, Seamus MacInnes of Cafe Gandolfi, and Kevin Maguire of Metropolitan.

Said Ryan James, “My rates for Two Fat Ladies went up by 15 per cent while the Buttery rent increased by 425 per cent. I lodged planning permission to extend The Buttery to make the hike more sustainable, which has taken two years to date. This is scandalous. If we hadn’t been offered transitional relief both restaurants would have closed.

“Rateable values were based on the turnover in 2014, the year of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games, which was obviously the wrong year to pick because turnovers now don’t even relate slightly to 2014. Because of the current system we are being hung, drawn and quartered for our own success.”

He continued, “The Finance Minister Derek Mackay has even said ‘we all understand that this is an injustice but can you please come to me with your suggestions’, which you can either see as inclusive or a dereliction of duty. Personally I see this as a huge opportunity for the trade to come together to make a change. This means that everybody has an input on how taxes are raised.”

Seamus MacInnes of Cafe Gandolfi likened his role to that of a tax collector. He said, “My restaurants are in my DNA. I’m happy to work six days a week. But for the first time in 40 years I have considered selling because all I do is collect taxes. Having said that my rates have increased by £75,000, so who the hell is going to buy me?”

“That’s why it’s so important that we group together, which is why this crowdfunding idea is so important.”

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